20 Questions MCQ Test History for UPSC CSE - Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh
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Which of the following is not a feature of Mahajanapadas?
They were generally ruled by powerful kings.
There were traces of Oligarchy in Mahajanapadas.
They were a part of the first Civilization.
Detailed Solution for Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh - Question 11
The correct answer is 3 only. Key Points
The second urbanization started in the 6th century BC in the Indian subcontinent. Hence, Statement 3 is incorrect.
It is an era associated with early states, cities, the growing use of iron, the development of coinage, etc.
It also witnessed the growth of diverse systems of thought, including Buddhism and Jainism.
The centre of economic and political activity shifted from northwest to Eastern UP and Bihar that is the Ganga basin.
The territorial States become very large with the use of better tools and weapons and came to be known as Mahajanapadas.
The small kingdoms submitted to the stronger ruler or gradually got eliminated.
While most Mahajanapadas were ruled by kings, some, known as Ganas or sanghas, were oligarchies where power was shared by a number of men, often collectively called rajas. Hence, Statement 1 & 2 is correct.
Both Mahavira and the Buddha belonged to such Ganas.
In some instances, as in the case of the Vajji sangha, the rajas probably controlled resources such as land collectively.
Each Mahajanapada had a capital city, which was often fortified.
Maintaining these fortified cities as well as providing for incipient armies and bureaucracies required resources.
Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh - Question 12
Place the following ruler of Magadha in their chronological order of rule:
Detailed Solution for Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh - Question 14
The Magadha Empire ruled from 684 B.C - 320 B.C in India.
The reference of the Magadha Empire is found in the two great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.
There were three dynasties who ruled the Magadha empire from 544 BC to 322 BC.
The first one was Haryanka dynasty (544 BC to 412 BC), the second was Shisunaga Dynasty (412 BC to 344 BC) and the other one was Nanda dynasty (344 BC-322 BC).
Bimbisara came from the Haryanka dynasty, ruled for 52 years from 544 B.C. to 492 B.C.
Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son Ajatshatru who ruled Magadha empire from 492- 460 B.C. He murdered his father Bimbisara.
Bindusara was the son of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of Maurya dynasty and ruled from 298 BC to 272 BC. He is also referred to as Amitraghata (amitra-enemy, ghata-slayer) in Sanskrit Literature. Strabo has named him Amitrochates or Allitrochades which are a greek version of the name Amitraghata. He had two sons Sumana & Ashoka. Ashoka later succeeded him, after his death.
Ashoka was the son of Bindusara. He was governor of Taxila and Ujjain during his father’s reign. Ashoka sat on the throne around 268 B.C after successfully defeating his brothers. Hence option 3 is correct.
Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh - Question 15
Detailed Solution for Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh - Question 16
Punch marked coins
It is a type of early coinage in India, dating to between about the 6th and 2nd centuries BC.
The first coins in India may have been minted around the 6th century BC by the Mahajanpadas of the Indo-Gangetic plain.
The coins of this period were punch-marked coins called Puranas, Karshapanas, or Pana.
Several of these coins had a similar symbol. For example, Saurashtra had a humped bull Dakshin Panchala had a Swastika, others like Magadha had several symbols.
Punched Marked coins were made of silver, had a standard weight but were irregular in shape.
The irregular shape was made by cutting up silver bars and then making the correct weight by cutting the edges of the coin.
These coins lack any inscriptions written in contemporary languages and were always struck in silver.
These unique characters make early Indian coins very different from their contemporaries in Greece.
Many historians believe that the concept of coinage was introduced by the Greeks in India. But unlike Indian punch-marked coins, Greek coins had inscriptions that were round in shape, were stamped on both sides, and were minted using silver, electrum, and gold too.
Now historians are certain that the concept of coinage was invented in India independent of foreign influence which imparted unique characteristics to these coins.
These coins are mentioned in Manu, Panini, and Buddhist Jataka stories and lasted three centuries longer in the south than in the north.
After the fall of the Maurya Empire and the increased influence of the Indo-Greeks,punch-marked coins were replaced by cast die-struck coins as visible in the Post-Mauryan period.
Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh - Question 17
Read the following statements about the republics of Mahajanpad period:
(i) In all the republics powers was vested in the hands of elites.
(ii) Most of the republics were located in the foothills of Himalayas.
Choose the correct code:
Detailed Solution for Test: Mahajanapadas & Rise of Magadh - Question 20
There were two kinds of state formations during the Mahajanpad period - the monarchical kingdoms and the non-monarchical polities called the gana-sanghas (the republics).
Most of the monarchical mahajanapadas were concentrated in the fertile Ganga plains.
In contrast, the gana-sanghas lay around their periphery, in the Himalayan foothills, or in north-western India, Punjab and Sindh or central and western India.
Their location suggests that the gana-sanghas probably pre-dated the kingdoms, since the low-lying hills would have been easier to clear than the marshy jungles in the plains.
It is also possible that they were established by individuals with a liberated mindset who moved from the plains up towards the hills to establish communities with more egalitarian traditions since they were not satisfied with the growing orthodoxy and the rigid caste system of the plains.
In fact, teachers of the two most important heterodox sects came from these gana-sanghas: Mahavira, associated with Jainism, belonged to the Jantrika clan, a part of the Vrijji confederacy; and the Buddha, who was born in the Sakya clan.
Historians have understood the gana-sanghas variously as republics or oligarchies.
In the gana-sanghas, unlike the monarchical kingdoms, power was diffused, i.e., power was exercised collectively, by a group of people.
The gana-sanghas had only two strata – the kshatriya rajakula, i.e., the ruling families, and the dasakarmakara, i.e., the slaves and labourers.
Land was owned collectively by the clan, but was worked on by labourers and slaves, the dasa-karmakaras.
It is also important to note that while kinship ties bound the clan together, the labouring class of the kamakaras were non-kin labour.
In terms of governance, there was no single hereditary monarch, but instead a chief known as the ganapati, or ganaraja, or sanghamukhya.
Hence, we can conclude that among the given statements about the republics of Mahajanpad period, only statement (ii) is true.
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